What it is, that Accomplishes the Phenomenon of Concentration
By Helena Folkening
Perhaps the most difficult thing the writer on occult subject has to deal with, is to clearly express an occult truth in words, for this truth is on the Spiritual Plane of Intuition, while words are on the more material plane of the reasoning faculty.
These two planes must necessarily be represented here, although words have never been found as satisfactory a means of conveying ideas as could be wished, inasmuch as each reader interprets occultism according to personal spiritual development. The nature of the subject considered is the cause of the difficulty, for words, that may be entirely satisfying to the brain, may be wholly unsatisfactory to the Spirit.
As a result of concentration and meditation on the subject of the God Within or the Inner Man, changes are brought about in our desires and thoughts. As a matter of fact, the vehicles used for the occupation of the Soul of an individual, is made up of his thoughts, which have become solidified and immortalized. It therefore becomes necessary to have a clear understanding of these two bodies, i.e., the Astral Body and the Thought Body, if we would more clearly understand the Inner Man.
For the sake of simplicity, we will consider the Thought Body first. Thought, be it understood, is a force, and like all other forces must have a vehicle through which to function. Each thought has its own vehicle, the substance and form of which is determined by the nature of the thought. Thoughts of a similar character attract each other, and the accumulation into an assembly of thoughts, together with their vehicles, constitutes what is known as the Thought Body of an individual. Quite similar to this, and more easily understood, is the assemblage of the millions of physical cells to compose the physical body, and as through various ways of living, the cells of the physical body are changed, just so may the Thought Body be changed, through a change in the character of thought.
Inasmuch as we are constantly building a Thought Body either consciously or unconsciously, it soon becomes apparent to the serious minded student of occultism that the nature and character of the Thought Body is of the greatest importance. This body receives and is colored by, every thought of the man. As the thoughts of the average man are so scattered and flighty, the Thought Body is likewise shadowy and unsettled, its permanency depending upon the force of the thought. Constant repetition is necessary in order to create a permanent form, and since the thoughts of the lower mind are constantly changing with amazing rapidity, the body formed for their occupancy is not immortal, although their results and consequences may be far reaching and of great importance.
To be sure, it is well that the body formed by the thoughts of the lower mind is not lasting, since the majority of our thoughts are unspiritual and unworthy of long life. The first and most essential step to take in the building of the Inner Man is, therefore, the purification of the Thought Body. This can best be accomplished by the young and middle aged, for the solidification of the Thought Body, by constant repetition through many years, renders it difficult of change.
The turning of the thought force on any particular subject causes the corresponding cells to grow. It matters not whether our thoughts on that subject be of a spiritual or material nature, the mere thinking at all, causes activity, and therefore nourishment and growth of all the cells closely related thereto. To illustrate this point, we may take the subject of Virtue. When thinking of virtue in a constructive manner, i.e., a quality to be desired and striven for in our own character, and admired in another, we cause the corresponding thought cells to grow and expand, as is shown by the golden light in the aura. But should our thoughts on the same subject be of a destructive nature, a quality to be scoffed at in others and not aspired for in our own nature, those same cells will grow and expand, but as shown in the aura, emitting a dark and unpleasing light. So, it must be recognized that to really know the mental attitude in regard to the subject under consideration, is of the greatest importance. In concentration and meditation on the motives which prompt the character of our thoughts, in time we arrive at a state where we recognize and use the Inner Light.
Cells, like every kind of matter, only die from lack of use and nourishment, and as these old cells begin to die and slough off from starvation (lack of stimulating thought force) new cells of a better quality arise to take their place. This is the beginning of the purification of the Thought Body.
Let us again refer to the subject of Virtue as one for Concentration and Meditation. If the effort has been of a negative quality, i.e., recognizing the goodness of virtue without any particular effort at its practice, the old cells upon disappearing, give place to new ones, but of such a vague nature as to render the aura uncertain. But even this is a vast improvement over the emanation from the old cells. Holding the thought on the highest conception of the subject in mind will cause a greater expansion, clarification, and solidification of the Thought Body.
A constant referring back as to what it is that is doing the concentrating and meditating, – THE REAL SELF – and why this intense effort is made, enables one to become more and more in touch with the GOD WITHIN, realizing that not only is he made in the image and likeness of God, but that his body is the temple in which God abides.
To be able to be conscious of one’s self, and not to become either selfish, or with a feeling of separateness from all others, is a difficult task. This is just what must be accomplished for the Self is continually in the process of creation, and can best be done through the realization of it. The Self is the Divine Individuality, while the self is the mortal personality. Somewhere we are admonished to “kill out the self by the SELF,” which means that bringing up into the Higher Divine Self of all the lower personal self ideas. This can only be accomplished through Concentration and Meditation on the highest principle within us, and during that mental activity, the old cells are replaced with newer and better ones, and the Inner Man is formed and begins to grow. In looking over the whole process of that which takes place in the Thought Body as a result of this effort, we find it to be five-fold. First, the softening and dissolving of the old cells, which compose the Thought Body; second, renewing and purification of the cells; third, the strengthening of the same; fourth, solidification, and fifth, the giving of a definite form to the whole assemblage.
So much for the Thought Body. When the attention is directed to the Astral Body, we find it to involve nearly all of the consciousness of the average individual, being, as it is, positive desire combined with the lower Astral principles of the man, brought to birth by a negative (sometimes called Lower or changeable) mind. Here we have the triangle thus:
The Inner Man, however, is positive (sometimes called Higher) Mind, with the Astral Body, and brought to birth by the Soul (Aspiration). The triangle then becomes thus:
When we remember that Soul Aspiration is but a Higher aspect of Desire, we find that a change of polarity has taken place when the Inner Man is born. Desire, as desire, acts outward on the material plane, but desire, as aspiration, acts inward on the spiritual plane, the motive power back of each being the same, Free Will. In the first instance it is the “personal will,” in the second, it has been transmuted to “Divine Will.” Is not this but another way of saying “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is In Heaven?”
It might appear from the foregoing that there are two distinct activities taking place in the formation and birth of the Inner Man, while in fact there is but one. During the five-fold process going on in the Thought Body, the Vehicle, as such, dies. The purifying and rebuilding of the Thought Body is accomplished by a killing out of the Astral Vehicle for each process is dependent on the other, and cannot be done alone. It is the killing out of desire alone, without the accompanying building up of the purified Thought Body, that renders the process so dangerous, for unless an overcome desire has been followed up by a lofty aspiration, “the house is swept and garnished,” the devil (desire) cast out, only to give possession (obsession) to a seven-fold greater desire.
The desires of man work through the nervous system, and in breaking down the old desires the old nerve currents are being destroyed, and the resultant force of aspiration becomes centered in the heart; another reason for the complete overcoming of a desire before the effort ceases. The rising force, when uncontrolled, strikes the seat of desire, often causing the moral nature of the student to completely break, “and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Luke ii, 26.
Taking the opposite side, however, i.e., the complete overcoming of desire, causes the force to ascend until it reaches the Pineal Gland (the vehicle of Soul and Mind), awakening the Soul to activity thereby, thus causing his immortality here and now. This force, likened to electricity, “the mystic fire,” passing through the opened nerve tubes which have been cleaned and garnished by the killing out of the old desires, is that which consolidates the vehicle of the Inner Man, and the student awaiteth “Illumination.”
So much that is vague is written concerning the Touch of a Master, being necessary to the Birth of the Inner Man, that the would-be Aspirant becomes bewildered through the multiplicity of Masters today. But if the student realizes that his own Mind and Soul acting as one body, causes the Master within himself to manifest, he has placed himself through the intense effort of the building of the Inner Man, on the same plane of any Master to whom he may be devoted.